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Film Movement Acquires U.S. Rights to Melanie Laurent’s ‘Breathe’ (EXCLUSIVE)

PARIS– New York-based arthouse distributor Film Movement has acquired U.S. rights to actress-turned-auteur Melanie Laurent’s sophomore outing “Breathe.”

“Breathe,” which world premiered at Cannes’ Critics’ Week, was produced by Bruno Levy’s Move Movie and co-produced, distributed and repped by Gaumont. Pic will make its U.S. premiere at Unifrance’s Rendez-vous with French Cinema on March 7, with Laurent in attendance.

Inspired by the eponymous novel, “Breathe” (“Respire”) is a gripping psychological drama chronicling a dysfunctional friendship between two teenagers: Charlie (Joséphine Japy), an introverted and sensitive young woman, and Sarah (Lou de Laâge), a new transfer student who brings with her an air of boldness and danger. As their relationship deepens, it quickly transforms into a toxic obsession, leading the two teens toward a jarring and tragic collapse.

The deal was finalized by Film Movement’s CEO Michael E. Rosenberg with Yohann Comte, deputy head of sales at Gaumont.

“We have been a fan of Ms. Laurent’s since we released her romantic comedy ‘The Day I Saw Your Heart’ in 2011, and we were blown away by her impressive second feature as a director,” said Rosenberg. “We have no doubt that Melanie Laurent is a major directorial talent, and we are pleased to be the ones who will introduce her latest effort to American audiences later this year.”

Added Comte, “It was important for us that Melanie’s impressive work as a director be brought to light in the U.S. We know that Film Movement’s team will be totally dedicated in shining that light on the film.”

Film Movement plans a summer 2015 theatrical release followed by a on-demand, digital and home video rollout.

The performances by de Laage and Japy have EARNED critical praise, as well as Cesar Awards nominations for best female newcomers. Laurent’s directorial effort also garnered strong reviews. Variety’s Scott Foundas said Laurent offered “a compelling, superbly acted portrait of an adolescent friendship perched on the brink of obsession.”

So far, Gaumont has sold to movie to a dozen of territories including Canada (Axia Films), Australia/New Zealand (Palace Films), Mexico (Mantarraya) — excluding pay-TV — Scandinavia (Angel Films) and CIS (Central Partnership).

Laurent made her feature debut in 2011 with “The Adopted,” which earned its star Denis Menochet a Lumiere award (France’s equivalent to a Golden Globe) for best male newcomer.

An accomplished actress, Laurent has been leading an international career with recent credits including Angelina Jolie’s upcoming film “By the Sea” and Claudia Llosa’s “Aloft.”

Under Rosenberg’s leadership, Film Movement has been actively acquiring French movies. “There is so much exciting work coming out of France. There are risks these (new talents) are taking to imbue their art with a fresh perspective, while standing squarely on the shoulders of the original new wave artists who so solidly put France on the filmmaking map,” argued Rosenberg.

Upcoming Film Movement releases include Ivano De Matteo’s “The Dinner,” Jean-Pierre Améris’ “Marie’s Story,” Jessica Hausner’s “Amour Fou,” Kristina Grozeva and Peter Valchanov’s “The Lesson” and Nicolas Vanier’s “Belle and Sebastien.”

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